A generic GIS-based method for small Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) potential evaluation at large scale

Abstract : The increasing share of weather-dependent renewable energies in power systems creates a need for energy storage technologies to reduce the impacts of variable production. The most mature technology to store energy on the grid remains Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES). The potential of high-energy sites has already been assessed in Europe by the EU JRC, considering mostly dams and reservoirs from global European databases which include only massive water bodies. This paper focuses on estimating the potential for small-PHES, proven to have lower environmental impact and an positive impact on grid balance and reliability. A generic method is designed, able to evaluate a global PHES storage capacity at large scale. It considers both existing lakes and natural depressions suitable to be filled for PHES purposes. The volume of filled lakes is estimated using the surrounding topography. The method is organized so that the “heavy” calculations, i.e. sink detection, volume evaluation, constraints verification, etc. are run only once. Consequently, the actual potential estimation phase only includes fast calculations and can be integrated in a loop for carrying out a sensitivity analysis. The proposed method is then applied considering France as a test case. Suitable environmental, land-use and structural constraints are applied to eliminate irrelevant sites. The analysis leads to an estimated value of the small-PHES potential in France, which ranges from 14 GWh when only existing lakes are considered to 33 GWh when lakes and depressions are considered. These estimations represent respectively 8% and 18% of the current hydro storage capacity in France. Thanks to a global sensitivity analysis, factors like the maximum distance between lakes, the maximum altitude of the sites, and the distance to the electrical grid are shown to have the most influence on the global evaluated potential, which is further sensitized. Lastly, another application is suggested that makes it possible to select the connections to be built first within a restricted area, based on a cost-per-energy-like approach. It uses the connections between reservoirs detected at large geographical scale.
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Applied Energy, Elsevier, 2017, 197, pp.241 - 253. 〈10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.03.103〉
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Antoine Rogeau, Robin Girard, Georges Kariniotakis. A generic GIS-based method for small Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) potential evaluation at large scale. Applied Energy, Elsevier, 2017, 197, pp.241 - 253. 〈10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.03.103〉. 〈hal-01513139〉

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